It’s one of your most prominent physical features, right there in the center of your face. But despite it being so obvious to everyone who looks at you, why can’t you see your own nose?
Put simply, you don’t see your nose because your brain ignores it. While your nose is always in your field of vision, your brain filters it out because it’s not information you need to function on a day-to-day basis.
Your brain filters out your nose in a few ways: One, your nose blocks part of the visual field of both your eyes, so when your brain receives the information your eyes are transmitting, it constructs a whole image from the unblocked information from both eyes. Two, your nose is in your peripheral vision, so you don’t notice it as much. Three, it’s so close to your eyes that it’s out of focus, because you’re focusing on things that are farther away.
As it turns out, your brain filters out a lot of visual information, not just your nose. If it didn’t, you would be overwhelmed with so much sensory input that you wouldn’t be able to function. This is, for example, why people who wear glasses don’t usually notice them.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can never see your nose. In fact, you can see it right now. Close one eye, then the other. You’ll be able to see your nose on the side of your eye. But when you open your eyes again, it disappears.
This illustrates the importance of getting regular eye exams, especially if you’re at risk for developing glaucoma. If a person is progressively losing their peripheral vision to glaucoma, they wouldn’t notice it since their visual fields overlap. This is why it’s so important for everyone to have regular eye exams. Eye doctors test peripheral vision at every annual exam and use special equipment to monitor for visual field loss.
You may not see your nose, but CEENTA wants you to be able to see the rest of the world. Make an appointment for an eye exam today.
This blog is for informational purposes only. You can schedule an appointment with a CEENTA eye doctor online or through myCEENTAchart.
CEENTA ophthalmologist Elliot McKee, MD, appeared on WSOC's The Daily Two on November 29, 2023, to discuss eye misalignment, strabismus, and blurry vision.
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